Kitchens close, ponies leave as rush of pilgrims to Amarnath reduces
The pilgrimage, which started on June 28, saw 2.36 lakh pilgrims visiting the shrine in first 25 days (9,400 daily on an average) despite the rough weather in initial days.Updated: Aug 01, 2018 12:09 IST
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Even though four weeksare leftfor Amarnath Yatra to conclude officially,the rush for the annual pilgrimage in south Kashmir Himalayas have reduced considerably.
“As per Raj Bhawan spokesperson, a good number of pony riders and palanquin bearers have withdrawn. Seven out of 10 Langar (community kitchen) organisations in the base camp will also leave in a phased manner as the daily arrival had reduced considerably, the officials told governor NN Vohra during his visit to Nunwan base camp in south Kashmir’s Pahalgam on Sunday.
The pilgrimage, which started on June 28, saw2.36 lakh pilgrims visiting the shrine in first 25 days (9,400 daily on an average) despite the rough weather in initial days.In the past one week that followed around 22,300 pilgrims (3,100 daily on an average) performed the yatra. The pilgrimage scheduled to extend for 60 days will end on August 26. In 2017, 2.60 lakh pilgrims had visited the cave shrine.
The two-month long pilgrimage this year comes amid governor’s rule in the state after the fall of BJP-PDP government on June 20.
Governor Vohra, who is also chairman of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) said the existing arrangements will “suitably be rationalised” by the end of July in consultation with the authorities involved. He said this matter has already been discussed with the security forces, the spokesman said. Last week, SASB had received calls for curtailment of the yatra period.
Vohra chaired the 35th meeting of the board on July 23, which discussed measures to improve facilities provided to the pilgrims and heard a presentation from Shri Amarnathji Barfani Langer Orginisation (SABLO) regarding the annual pilgrimage.
The Raj Bhawan spokesman said the SABLO’s pilgrimage data for the past five years show that more than 90 % of the pilgrims performed pilgrimage in the first 30 days.
“On this basis, SABLO argued that the period of yatra should be limited to 30 days, citing different reasons.Taking note of their demand, the board observed that this important issue needs to be placed in the public domain and discussed further,” the spokesman added.
The board meeting was attended by professor Ved Kumari Ghai, Pt Bhajan Sopori,DC Raina and Dr Chander Mouli Raina, besides Umang Narula, CEO and Bhupinder Kumar, additional CEO and other officers.
The cave shrine, which is 3,893m above the sea level houses an ice stalagmite that waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon and devotees believe the structure symbolises Lord Shiva, the Hindu god.
It was discovered by a Muslim shepherd in the 15th century.
First Published: Jul 31, 2018 14:14 IST